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Post Revisit: A Snapshot of Specialty Coffee Packaging

Its always good practice (and fun!) to take a look back and reread what we’ve written about during the life of our little blog. We recently revisited a post from August 2013 titled “A Snapshot of Specialty Coffee Packaging” (click here to read.)

The post focused on coffee packaging — where we’ve been, where we are presently, and where we predicted we were going. While it was good to revisit the whole post, we’d like to focus on that last bit — the part where we predicted where we felt the specialty coffee packaging was moving towards. Below is the actual snippet from our post:

“We believe the future of specialty coffee packaging will move away from the simple, clean, industrial look for a more expressive style that really shows the personality of the brand. We think customers don’t need to see another kraft bag to denote quality and an expressive bag will also do a better job telling the story, something that is resonating more and more with shoppers nowadays .”

The reason we revisited this post is because we’re seeing a lot of examples of the very thing we were predicting (which is very exciting) which means we might know a little bit about what we do!

Two great examples of what we predicted coming to life are Starbucks special Tribute Blend packaging and Brewklyn Grind Coffee Roasters rebrand and packaging. Both hit home the thought we put forth about “moving away from clean, simple industrial look” and move towards “a more expressive style.” We even had conversations about how cool coffee packaging would be with fine art prints on the label- something Brewklyn pulled of nicely. 

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Starbucks Tribute Blend

As you can see in the Starbucks packaging they are getting really conceptual with this design. Take a look at that bag. It’s just designs and elements with this beautiful painterly circle as the focal point. The asymmetrical design is very eye catching and grabs your attention on shelf. There’s no denying the contents are something special and unique. 

Starbucks is no stranger to expressive packaging and is one of the few specialty coffee companies whose packaging moved away from the kraft coffee bag look long ago — but the Tribute Blend feels new and fresh. We feel like it really embodies the vision we laid out back in August.

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Brewklyn Grind Coffee Roasters

Brewklyn Grind has really embraced expressive fine art for their new packaging and redesign. What’s really neat about Brewklyn Grind is they are collaborating with local Brooklyn artists to help create the art for their packaging. It’s not just some random digital design they’re using. We find this to truly embody “artisan” and take it to a whole new level. Why not make each bag a little work of art? Those who appreciate fine coffee are usually the same people who appreciate fine art. 


So there you have it. We’re very interested to see how this trend will play out in the coffee packaging landscape over the next year or so. Who knows- we might have to revisit this post!

#buttermilkinboston – Day 2

#buttermilkinboston is a daily recap of our experiences at the HOW Live Design Conference in Boston. Follow the hashtag on our Twitter and Instagram accounts to keep up with all the excitement. Click here to read our Day 1 Recap.

We’re putting day 2 behind us and it was a blast and a blur! What an amazing day. We presented our session at The Dieline Conference, got interviewed by Package Design Magazine, and attended some great sessions at HOW Design Live.

We started the day off at an amazing little coffee shop called The Thinking Cup. We just found it wandering down Newbury St. on the way to the Hynes. We were able to grab a great breakfast that filled us up and sustained us for our presentation at 10:15. Highly recommended if you find yourself needing a good cup of coffee and a tasty breakfast pastry while in Boston. 

Our breakfast from The Thinking Cup

Our breakfast from The Thinking Cup

Then it was off to present our session “Oops I became a Package Designer” at The Dieline Conference. We were the opening session so our stomachs were in knots until we took the stage. Based on the packed house til the end of our talk and the lively Q and A we really felt like we resonated with the audience. It was great to hear from everyone and check out the lively discussion afterwards on Twitter and Instagram. But we sure are glad we’ve got that behind us so we can focus on the rest of the conference.

The crowd! Such a great group of folks!

The crowd! Such a great group of folks!

One of the most well received slides we presented was our “Discovery Brief”. Basically this is a form we created to use at the beginning of a project. We customized it for our projects to help keep us on track with asking the right questions and to really experience the product before we start designing (we insist on tasting everything before we design for it). We shared the file with The Dieline, so feel free to download a copy of it here and customize it for your own use!

Our Discovery Brief

Our Discovery Brief

After our interview with Package Design Magazine we headed back to the conference to attend Peleg Top‘s session about Marketing Strategies for Attracting Your Ideal Clients. This great session got us thinking about how best to market ourselves to the right audience. Peleg Top shared his calendar which his firm sent out every month for 14 years as a promo piece as an example of creating something that keeps you in the forefront of your current and potential clients minds. Definitely got us thinking about our upcoming promo piece and how to make it into a series we send out every couple months instead of a one off piece. 

The next and last session of the day we attended was from John Nunziato of Little Big Brands about 35 points to think about when starting a design firm. Some points resonated with us more than others but it was still neat to get some insight into the history of LBB and know that he was at one point working out of a tiny room in his house- something we know all about! Some of the other standouts from his presentation were:

  • Institute a “No Asshole” rule. There’s too many beautiful people and things in the world to worry about these types of people.
  • Respect yourself! Don’t do spec work!
  • If its not a show, its not a go! 

Listening to John’s talk got us daydreaming about what and where Buttermilk will go in the near future. Very exciting stuff.

John Nunziato presenting.

John Nunziato presenting.

We wrapped up day 2 with an AMAZING meal at Island Creek Oyster Bar (first destination we can check off from this wish list) We had the pleasure of dining with our friends from Theory House and My Private Brand — it’s always such a great time geeking out with other fellow creatives!

Insane raw platter from Island Creek Oyster Bar!

Insane raw platter from Island Creek Oyster Bar!

So that closes our Day 2 recap. We’ve got a couple more days of insight and inspiration and can’t wait to see what else we learn.

Keep an eye out for our Day 3 recap tomorrow!

Buttermilk Goes to Boston: Part 4

“Buttermilk Goes to Boston” is a four part blog post about our journey to speaking at this year’s The Dieline Conference. We’ll post an update every month leading up to May when we finally head north to present “Oops, I Became a Packaging Designer” at the conference.

Click here to read Buttermilk Goes to Boston – Part 3, Part 2 and Part 1

Well May is practically here and we are thoroughly freaking out prepping for our presentation. So in-between feverishly finishing our slides and rehearsing we spent a little time virtually exploring Boston and picking out all the fun stuff we’d like to do after we *hopefully* knock our presentation out of the ballpark (Fenway maybe?). Follow along below and if you’d like a handy guide you can visit and download our Jauntful map.

Alex’s Picks

Where I want to eat:

Island Creek Oyster Bar | islandcreekoysterbar.com

Even though I know Andy doesn’t necessarily “fancy” oysters the way I do. I know he will be down for going here with me anyway based solely on the fact that the brand identity and website design are freaking amazing. And, there’s buttermilk biscuits on the menu. Done.

The Beehive | www.beehiveboston.com

Another great design. What can I say? I’m aesthetically driven. This place is known for great live music and even better grub. There’s a reggae/jazz/soul band playing there our first night in the city. So, if our presentation is all zipped up and ready to go, we might reward ourselves with some live music and cocktails! 

B & G Oyster Bar | bandgoysters.com

Yeah, I know this one isn’t going to happen. I’d be pushing my luck to get Andy to agree to another oyster bar. But this one looks really nice too and I love the food photography on their website. Who knows, maybe he will fall in love with oysters?!

Hei La Moon

This restaurant is on the outskirts of Chinatown and I keep reading reviews of this place having great dim sum. Not sure if we will make it over to that area, but I’d love to try it.

Lollicup Coffee and Tea

Everywhere I go, I look for bubble tea. 

Where I want to shop:

Camper | www.camper.com

I’m always on the lookout for cool shoes. Not just for myself but for my husband and toddler as well. This place might be a great spot to pick up a couple of “travel gifts” for the family.

Olives & Grace | www.olivesandgrace.com/

A seemingly adorable gift shop which features small producers, artisan makers and emerging artists locally and from across the country. I love these types of shops!

Marimekko | us.marimekko.com

I’m a total sucker for the Marimekko style. So, needless to say, since I’ll be in Boston, I’m definitely going to try to pop into the Marimekko store. If for nothing else, at least a coffee mug or this oven mitt.

Other areas of interest:

Beacon Hill, Acorn Street

The cool thing about attending the HOW conference with Andy, is I never know where our travels may take us. We both always seem up for anything and open minded. If we have the time and the gusto, I’d like to check out Acorn Street in Beacon Hill, which is a historic neighborhood with picturesque architecture and cobblestone streets. Sounds like a lovely area to stroll and decompress.


Andy’s Picks

Where I want to eat (let me just say Alex picked out some amazing picks above, so i’m merely adding a little bit to her extensive list):

Falafel King

Alex and I have a pretty good track record of finding some great falafel shops in the cities we visit so Boston should be no different! While we take our stroll through Beacon Hill we’ll have to make our way to Falafel King. From the looks on Yelp its the perfect mix of no fuss eatery and some tasty falafel platters. Plus one reviewer said they are in fact the “king of all Middle Eastern foods in the City of Boston.” How can you go wrong with that?

Samuel Adams Brewery | www.samueladams.com

So it’s not exactly a restaurant but I would love to make our way over to tour the Sam Adams brewery. Say what you will about Sam Adams I think its pretty good stuff and while there are tons of other smaller craft brewers i support there’s just something about taking a tour and then tasting a beer so closely associated with the City of Boston. 

Where I want to shop/visit:

Black Ink Boston | blackinkboston.squarespace.com

I’m a sucker for great art supply stores, which Black Ink is, but they also have so much more. I’m not really in the market for anything, but thats the great thing about this store- it has just about every quirky thing you’ll ever need. I’m thinking we can just head over there and I’ll see what speaks to me.

Oat Creative | www.oatcreative.com

So you know that amazing Island Creek Oyster Bar Alex mentioned above. Well this is the studio behind the design. And ICOB isn’t the only piece in their portfolio- these folks ooze amazing talent. It’d be great to check out their studio and chat with Jen and Rory about their work and their journey. 

Harvard Square

So Alex and I are avid Car Talk listeners so if we have a little bit of time I’d love to head over and see the characters in Harvard Square Tom & Ray are always talking about on the show. Plus who knows- we might even catch a glimpse of those guys!

 

BUTTERMILK GOES TO BOSTON – PART 3

“Buttermilk Goes to Boston” is a four part blog post about our journey to speaking at this year’s The Dieline Conference. We’ll post an update every month leading up to May when we finally head north to present “Oops, I Became a Packaging Designer” at the conference.

Click here to read Buttermilk Goes to Boston – Part 2 and Part 1

May is right around the corner and we are half excited about our upcoming presentation and half scared to death! We’re slowly but surely putting together our presentation and are feeling pretty good about it.

So how’d we go about pulling together all the content for our presentation? Reaching back into 7 years of package design is a tall order to fill. We want to provide value to our audience and not just do a portfolio review so we really had to sit back and think about things: what were those meaningful projects that really put us through the ringer- those projects where we really learned some things.

As we looked at the landscape and we realized we needed some sort of organizational method for the projects we were presenting- so we settled on a type of “good, bad, and ugly” scenario. It took a couple trips to the patio of our favorite meeting place to come up with the list of projects to discuss but we narrowed it down and now we had our list. Now of course we couldn’t just leave it at “good, bad, and ugly” so we brainstormed ways to make that interesting and that led to The Boss – but you’ll have to see us in Boston to hear how that idea pans out!

We thought long and hard about these projects we picked out. What about them made them particularly challenging. What did we learn from them? What would we have done differently? What went right!? (if you can believe it) Some projects dealt with things like getting the right info up front, dealing with photographers, and how to spot a good idea when you’ve got one. We’ll be providing takeaways for each project because we really feel like providing takeaways is what is going to make our content resonate with the audience and hopefully give them some inspiration to take back to their day jobs.

As we continue to put together our talk and polish we’ve realized a couple of things:

  1. We’ve worked on a bunch of projects, both big and small.
  2. A packaging designer’s education is never complete- every project presents a new set of challenges and learnings.
  3. Sometimes when looking back at work we’ve done, it’s not quite as awesome as we once thought it was!

We’re having a blast putting together our presentation, rehearsing, and feeling anxious for Boston. The reality is setting in that we’re presenting at the packaging design conference in front of an audience of our peers. Its nerve wracking and thrilling all at the same time and we know we’ll miss it as soon as its over.

Trend Spotting: Black and White with a Pop of Color

This is design direction that we get a lot…. “Black and white with a pop of color”. It usually means simple and modern-ish. A clean and straight forward design.  So, even though this isn’t really a ground breaking trend per se, it is a commonly seen design style that we find very visually appealing.

Below are a few great interpretations of this style. 

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline